Notre Dame Football: Unstoppable Rushing Attack Will Lead Irish to New Heights

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 4, 2012

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Theo Riddick #6 of Notre Dame celebrates after scoring the first touchdown during the Notre Dame vs Navy game at Aviva Stadiu, on September 1, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Barry Cronin/Getty Images)
Barry Cronin/Getty Images

It's time to end all the quarterback talk in South Bend once and for all.

It won't matter that sophomore Everett Golson is starting under center for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2012, because the Irish will flourish this fall thanks to their dominant rushing attack, led by Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III.

The two backs combined to average more than 7.3 yards per carry in Notre Dame's season-opening rout of Navy in Dublin, Ireland.

Riddick and Atkinson rushed for a combined 206 yards and scored two touchdowns each as well, proving to be the greatest offensive threats the Irish will possess this season.

In addition to moving the ball and scoring points, Notre Dame's powerful ground game allows it to keep its defense well rested and off the field for long periods of time. 

The Irish held the ball more than seven minutes more than Navy in their opener.

In the end, the Irish will be favorites to win every game in which they dictate the pace. A consistent running game will allow Notre Dame to win time of possession and lessen the amount of opportunities its opponent sees offensively. 

It's no secret that running the ball eats up clock and wears down opposing defensive lines and front sevens.

Just take a look at what Alabama did to LSU in the BCS National Championship Game last January. The Crimson Tide ran the ball 35 times against the Tigers, averaging 4.3 yards per carry to finish with 150 rushing yards for the game.

The result of Alabama's persistent ground attack was that it earned nearly 11 minutes more time of possession than LSU, which only had 44 plays for the entire game. Alabama had 44 plays at halftime and ended the game with 69 total.

Now back to the Irish, a team with the potential to follow in Alabama's footsteps in 2012 in terms of running the ball.

As last Saturday's win over Navy demonstrated, any time Notre Dame has more rush attempts than pass attempts, it's going to dictate the pace of the game and ultimately make its opponent's margin for error that much smaller.

Every turnover or stop Notre Dame's defense forces is that much more significant, because it means that the team's bruising running game will take over.

As long as head coach Brian Kelly and the coaching staff are aware of the superior advantage they have in the backfield and on the ground this fall, Notre Dame's unstoppable rushing attack will lead the Irish to new heights. 


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